Movable Street Sign Sends Detector Message Home

Movable Street Sign Sends Detector Message Home


The Bristol Borough Fire Department has discovered a novel way to promote the installation of smoke detectors. A borough ordinance requires smoke detectors in all dwelling units, but, as is usually the case, this is virtually unenforceable.

A positive approach was taken—talks to clubs, public displays, newspaper articles, radio, copies of the ordinance hand delivered to apartment owners by fire fighters, and special days advertised in the local paper when on-duty fire fighters would install smoke detectors free of charge. All of these helped our cause.

In searching for a more novel way to promote detectors, we took an idea from the real estate people and had a sign made similar to the ones used to sell a home. The sign is metal with two legs and can be easily installed in a yard.

It is printed as follows: Residents of Street, there have been fires on this street. Does your home have a smoke detector?

The street name and number of fires are blanks that are filled in as the sign is moved from street to street. A waterproof black marking pencil is used to fill in those details.

Fire department records are researched for the last five years to obtain the number of fires on a street.

The fire department has had no trouble finding people willing to have the sign posted on their property for two weeks, and very often local politicians will volunteer.

The impact on someone seeing the sign for the first time is impressive. People are reminded of fires in their own neighborhoods and that is often all the impetus needed to encourage them to go out and purchase their own smoke detectors.

Photo by Bill Johnson, Bucks County Courier Times

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